Capital Campaign Report

Capital Campaign Report

Trinity Cathedral
Tony Wesley, Capital Campaign Committee Co-chair


Good morning. I am one of the luckiest people in the congregation, because I get to see the details of all the gifts that Tim talked about. So I’m inspired beyond belief by your generosity; generosity that I cannot imagine. And it ignites me to remind you, again and again, that gifts multiply. Also, I hope I share with you a bit of awe that we are at the 200th annual meeting of this congregation. My awe is also added to the fact that I’m speaking at it, it’s unimaginable. And I’m awed because of so many of the doctrines of the church, one that is close to me and close to my heart is the communion of saints. And we are here in a long line of saints well before Trinity and saints from the founding of Trinity on.

I looked up this morning what the word generation meant, and generations are generally considered thirty years. So, if you think about it, we’re about the seventh generation of Trinity. It’s unimaginable to think about that, but actually that’s what I want to do this morning. You can read the report prepared by Holly, it speaks to the fact that 93% of our pledging households also pledged to the capital campaign. It speaks to the amount of money we raised and it speaks to what we’re doing with it this year. But I would like remind you this morning of why we’re doing what we’re doing and take a little bit of a pause.

So first of all, I’d like you to take a moment to think about the group of men—and I hope women and children, I hope they were all there—who met for the very first meeting of Trinity in Old Brooklyn. You know, they weren’t a ragtag bunch, but they weren’t the people who lived on Millionaires’ Row yet because Millionaires’ Row wasn’t here. They weren’t the pillars of society, but they were substantial families. What inspired them to form the first outpost here in this area of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America? You know, I would suggest to you that this is what inspired them, from the words of last week’s Gospel:

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.
– Luke 24:31

I would suggest to you that that’s what inspired them.

Let’s go a little bit forward, I figure two to three generations, and think about the first annual meeting held after the Cathedral was constructed. So the people on Millionaires’ Row, a lot of them were members here and they were august and proper. I wonder what they would think of all of us. I wonder what they would think of banners and pancakes. But I want to say to you, at that point in time, what did they imagine? What did they imagine after they built this magnificent building? What did they imagine about how it would spread out and what vision it would bring to the entire community and to the world? And again, I think what they might’ve imagined was this:

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.

Once more to this generation, I want to think about what we did, a little more than a year ago. We came together and we decided we were going to have a capital campaign because we care about the next generations, generation eight, nine, ten, and eleven. And what ignited in us the desire to do this capital campaign, to provide for future generations? I would say to you it is this:

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.

I would suggest that we are about the Book and the Tables. The table we share in the Cathedral, the tables we share here, the tables we share at endless committee meetings and endless Vestry meetings and endless Council meetings and endless subcommittee meetings. The tables we share at a Place at the Table. The books we share with one another, the Book that inspires us, the books we share at forums, the books we share at education classes, the books that we bring when we visit the sick, the books that we read when we celebrate the dying. I would suggest that that is what ignites us: the Book and the Table. So I ask you, as you write your checks to fulfill your pledges, when you think about increasing your pledge perhaps, as you think about making a pledge if you haven’t, to think about what has inspired the communion of saints around us, what that communion of saints has imagined, and what this communion of saints is ignited to do.

I thank you so much for your generosity.